Friday, December 30, 2016

Fegart, Donegal Pair

Fegart, Donegal Pair
One of my favorite locations in Ireland is all the way to the north in County Donegal.   My great-grandparents owned a farm on the Isle of Doagh, specifically an area called Cuill.   Some of the winding roads on the Isle are better walked than driven and it was on foot that we enjoyed the scene depicted in this pair of paintings.  Not far from Cuill was an area called Fegart with breathtaking views of Trawbreaga Bay.   This body of water separates the Isle of Doagh from Malin Head, the northern most tip of Ireland.

A stone structure overlooked the landscape and gradually sloped down to the waters' edge.    I would imagine that the stone structures that dot the countryside are hundreds of years old.  The stonework was often overgrown with green moss and lichen, a suitable match for the emerald green landscape.    When the sun was shining, it was just dazzling and I'm quite sure it looks no different than it did when my great-grandparents were here one hundred and thirty years ago.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Opie and Studley on the Beach

Opie and Studley
Here are the six year old brothers after a good run on the beach.   They are predominantly white, and after any vigorous exercise, their skin turns all pink, which is most visible where fur is sparse on the underside and ears.    They are very muscular dogs, although Opie on the left has a bit more weight than svelte, eye patched brother, Studley.
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kale and Peonies

Kale and Peonies Left
Kale and Peonies Right
You know I love flowers and I enjoy painting flowers, yet only occasionally do my flower paintings turn out favorably - at least in my opinion.   I noticed this new opportunity to paint with local artist Jenny Kelley at a one day workshop.  

Jenny also shows her work at the Copley Society in Boston, and the objective of the workshop was to practice flowers.    Jenny had brought along a variety of blossoms and vessels which were used to make several set ups for painters.  She demonstrated her stunning painted flowers and painting technique with some beautiful pink peonies.   Jenny also demonstrated her natural flair for teaching and engaging students. The whole day was thoroughly enjoyable!   It was fascinating to watch paintings being developed by others, their compositions, color choices, and scaling.  A personal and unique work of art emerged. all different, like a signature.   It was such a nice group conversing about many interesting topics, painting and beyond.   This was a truly multi-talented bunch including painters, a cartoonist and writers.   I appreciated observing their work and technique as well as getting their feedback on mine.

Peony Pair
I worked on a square format to capture some pink peonies and kale blossom.   The kale was not something I would ever have picked on my own - that is why stepping out to try new things is so inspiring.  The kale actually became my favorite element as it turned out.   I liked the gray green feel which complemented the pink of the blossoms.  I turned the vase in another direction and painted a second 8x8 square.   Below is the pair shown side by side.



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dispersion

Dispersion
Assembling and arranging the elements in this painting exercised my improvisation skills.   Dispersed were the feminine forms, negative spaces around the forms and the linear and geometric shapes.  

The random shapes of the billowing white chiffon of the woman in the foreground contrasted with the angular background but connected with the splash of light on the background figure's platform.   Although there was ambient light in the studio, the nude model in the background had an overhead spotlight, while the chiffon model faced a 45 degree angled light.  Dispersion of a sunbeam through a window prism cast a spectrum too, a rainbow spectrum.

The beauty of the figure and the challenge of painting it can't be compared to anything else for a painter.   The portrait never seems done, as in this scene with two models.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Equestrian School

Equestrian School - Stage One
Late afternoon light poured across the sloping hillside just off of Livingston Street in Tewksbury, MA.   Good fortune that I had pulled into the driveway simply looking for a pretty autumn scene.   Getting to see the riders, instructors and beautiful horses put through their paces was thoroughly enjoyable.     Some riders had multiple instructors assisting.   The young lady depicted here led her auburn colored horse down the path to the riding ring off to the right undoubtedly an experienced rider.

Equestrian School
The pair were captured in paint as they passed in front of the brilliantly lit horse barn.   The barn door opening offering the strongest value contrast, perfect for balancing the center of interest.   This was a paint out to remember and if I am up in the area again, it's a location to be added to the painting locations list!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Twirling Ribbon and Little Pumpkins

Studio Set Up Little Pumpkins
In late summer, painters sometimes lament that there is just too much bright green in the landscape.   We look for any other color than green and play that color up - to the extent possible anyway.   This year was different;  the lack of rain in New England has had an impact on the look of the landscape and the amount of green.   The tips of the leaves have prematurely turned a dry yellow.  Even the sound of the landscape is dry and "rustling" instead of moist and quiet.  

In the vegetable garden, the watering restriction has affected the amount and size of the tomatoes.  We didn't get too many tomatoes, like most years!

Monochromatic Underpainting


The pumpkin variety I planted seemed to thrive despite the arid conditions.   These pumpkins were not the monster-sized, county fair type pumpkins that require lots of water, but rather, the small ornamental variety called "Jack-Be-Little."   Approximately twenty-five little pumpkins were harvested from a mere six plants. I decided to set up a still life with several of these little fruits.




Twirling Ribbon - Stage Two
Using a larger 22 x 28" canvas, it was important to plan out the composition carefully. This still life plays up a complimentary scheme of orange and blue.   What would look nice with a bunch of little orange pumpkins?   Blue things, of course.  A rustic blue pottery vase, a clay pot, blue hydrangeas and a spool of blue ribbon were the elements that seemed to harmonize.    Several set-ups were attempted and rearranged before arriving at this arrangement.  A monochromatic block in was completed first.  In the stage two photo, see the mid-tones, some blues and oranges.

I applied a transparent dark wash onto the bare canvas.  The monochromatic stage photo above shows the wipe outs that established the structure of the painting.   This stage was worked over the course of two days while the transparent wash was since workable.

Since this was a studio still life, the painting method used was "indirect."   The indirect method means many thin paint layers of paint were built up over time to achieve a luminous glow that resembles a classical realist look.
Stage Three with Real Bittersweet

Once the painting was at Stage Three, it needed something more.   I placed the painting on the floor and positioned a length of fresh bittersweet over the front of an awkward area in the middle of the painting.   I liked it how the bittersweet masked the "not so great" spot, so I painted it in as a way to unite the two sides of the still life.  Over the next few weeks, additional layers were built up warm glow to the lights and blue glow to the shadows.   The complete, or at least nearly complete painting is shown.

Twirling Ribbon and Little Pumpkins



The last issue to address with a luminescent painting like this is capturing a quality photograph.   The extra oily glow makes it difficult to get a good, shine-free image.  A polarized filter and low light setting helps.    This image isn't too bad, but I'll probably work on getting an even better image.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Boston Guild at Public Garden

Painting with the Boston Guild


Today a number of painters gathered at the Boston Public Garden to share easels and supplies with anyone who wanted to give painting a try.    It was a gorgeous October day so in addition to interested painters, lots of tourists and walkers were enjoying the demonstrations.




Footbridge in Progress
My painting depicts a classic Boston scene, namely the footbridge over the duck pond.  I don't mind painting a scene that I've painted before, in fact, it seems easier.    Perhaps being familiar with the lines and angles from a previous paint out frees up the mind to inject some creative flair.  In this case it was using multi-colored piles of paint (unblended), applied in a thick layer for the high key bridge supports, and the darkest transparents under the bridge.   And although it was October, few trees had peak autumn colors.  That didn't deter me (and other painters) from pumping up the greens with yellow, gold and red.   The many trees were reflected in the duck pond, broken up by the surface ripples.  


Engagement

I noticed several couples pausing on the bridge, enjoying their romantic moment.   Hugs, selfies and even engagements happen here.   This famous spot is a beloved Boston scene, and a perfect scene to share with your beloved.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Arched Stone Portal

Arched Stone Doorway


The rustic brick villa looked mysterious but inviting and was capped with a beautiful stone archway. Simple geraniums planted asymmetrically enhanced the lovely old entrance to the cottage inn.  It was located down the end of a moist, shaded path through some woodlands. Ivy clung to the brickwork which looked extra green against its warm pink complement.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Colonial Block in Boston

Colonial Block in Boston
There have been many changes in downtown Boston from my high school days when I worked at Filene's Basement and knew the streets so well. Buildings have gotten taller and tourism has blossomed, but certain blocks remain relatively intact.  This scene depicts the corner of Union and Marshall Streets where the sidewalks are brick and the street is colonial-style cobblestone.   Several of the buildings have historic markers, and there are some well known restaurants here as the street is a half block from Fanueil Hall Market.   The Freedom Trail runs down the street and there is typically a constant stream of visitors following the sidewalk markers.

We were weaving in and out of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on our way to Haymarket when this dazzling sun and shadow scene stopped me.   Bell in Hand Tavern was on the corner on the left and the Union Oyster House Restaurant was on the right.    The five story buildings were casting interesting shadows and so were the figures.   The light was stunning and made for a good painting composition, but it's the people that make you stop and think.    Settlers walked the same paths in the eighteen hundreds and even earlier, going about their daily lives.    A few vestiges of the past are apparent, but its more different than the same.






Cloudy Claflin Landing

Beached Boats in Chatham
I was on my way to an art lecture on Cape Cod and decided to head down extra early so that I could paint.   Claflin Road is a offshoot of scenic Shore Road in Chatham, MA - quiet, beautiful, and no parking restrictions.  The harbormaster and local walkers seemed to most use the path as their beach access.     Right away I noticed some plump seals perched on their sand bar and I was tempted to quickly start a painting of them.   That temptation didn't last as the tide was rising so quickly that the seals were gone within ten minutes.   A classic - and less volatile - subject caught my attention.   These dinghies and kayaks were much closer than the seals, and made a serene picture under the cloudy skies.   I used a generous amount of quick dry white with an ever-so-small amount of naples yellow, cadmium red and cobalt blue, to create the cloudy sky.  The strokes of sky color was applied with a palette knife.   The threads of color barely show up in the photo, but they are plenty noticeable in person.
Claflin Landing - Stage One Horizon Line

Claflin Landing - Stage Two - A Few Sprinkles Starting











About an hour had gone by when I felt raindrops.   I retrieved my large patio umbrella with the broken spokes.  It worked well enough to keep the easel, painting and palette from getting too wet as I finished up and packed.  As I loaded the painting into my vehicle, relaxed and satisfied, I thought, "this painting is somewhat dull."  Back in the studio under full light, I changed my mind.   It really captures the day, and is a product of standing in a gorgeous spot doing what I love to do - the primary goal of plein air painting!









Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dawn Over the Jetty

Dawn Over the Jetty
Sunrises at the shore are often beautiful and occasionally spectacular.   It always depends on the clouds because they provide the variations, shapes and filtering that creates the prettiest color.   The fact that the water reflects all this colorful light doubles the brilliance.   This painting depicts a summer morning at the shore in Green Harbor, MA.  It really doesn't do justice to the scene, but in the absence of the real thing, the painting would be a nice reminder.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Blue Sandals

Blue Sandals
This pose caught my eye right away.    If the beautiful figure were to be leaning too much one way or another, the eye would immediately identify the imbalance and be disturbed by it.   The weight of the upper torso is supported by a straight right arm to the chair, and the remaining weight falls onto the planted foot (yes, complicated with a stiletto).    The figure is the focus, so all the other elements are intentionally subdued and blurred.  Classic but contemporary painting depicting the grace of the human figure.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Finishing Up June's Blooms - aka "The Potting Bench"

Stage One - Underpainting
Stage Two
My love of gardening is second only to painting although painting claims most of my time. Combining the two seemed logical as I set up this still life of a potting bench.   Last month I shared the foundation stages of this large still life painting (22"x 28") and work on it continued.

A long critical look at the version shown (Stage Two) and decided to make a few changes.  The circular armature was working but I thought it would be better to reinforce this flow with the addition of well-worn gardening gloves and my pruning sheers.    Where should the gloves be placed?  How should the sheers be angled.    Finding an acceptable arrangement took some playing around.   Then the question became, what would the hierarchy of the elements be?   Depicting everything with equal attention and importance weakens the painting as a whole.    The circular flow I was trying to achieve could be undermined by an ambiguous hierarchy.   In the end, I decided on the following order of importance:
The Potting Bench
  1. roses   (lightest lights and most intense color)
  2. pruning sheers  (sharp lines, and some vibrant color, but in a middle value)
  3. gardening gloves (human hand shape - naturally gains attention)
  4. jute (falls on the path of the counterclockwise circular armature)
  5. watering can (sits back, very little light, blends in with background, hints of highlights)
  6. clay saucers (muted and dark)
  7. under-the-bench clay pots  (dark and not part of the armature, ie the last thing to get noticed)
This painting will be my submission to this year's Boston Guild of Artists Juried Competition.  I also changed the name to "The Potting Bench."    I'll let you know if it gets in!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Brant Rock Oceanfront

Brant Rock Oceanfront
Low tide enabled me to get down amid the largest boulders along Ocean Street in the Brant Rock section of Marshfield, MA.   I've painted this scene before so the lines, angles and landmarks were very familiar.   It was a picture perfect day, warm, dry and breezy, certainly conducive for a good creative flow!

The 12x16" canvas had been toned in a middle value blue, a good complement for the warm, orangy light of the day.   The two foot waves rolled onto a stretch of beach in front of me in a four second rhythm, a most relaxing white noise.   Many people walked along the sidewalk above, but very few ventured down to where I was.

As for the painting, the darkest darks were first, then the lightest lights.   Next was the greenish blue water, followed by thick white waves, mostly painted with my palette knife.    Where the water met the sand, I interwove the two color masses creating the shoreline.   At the conclusion of the paint out, I hadn't even touched the blue areas.  Since the blue was a middle value, it served as the half tone without having to paint over it.   It amounted to a painting done with three basic colors, the simplicity of which I really liked.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Bathing Grace

A Bathing Grace

For centuries in the world of art, there has been endless fascination with the human figure.    Painters have challenged themselves and each other to correctly capture an image that honors the beauty of the body.  Every time I take on a new rendering of a figure, I ask myself, why don't I do this more. The lines, proportions and color of a human being make it - perhaps - the most fascinating of all subjects.  Here is a new painting, done from a high resolution photograph.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Perfectly Colorful Reflections

Brant Rock Boats - In Progress
It was early morning at the dock behind Taylor Marine in Brant Rock, MA  The humidity was noticeably lower than that of the past few days and the sun was brightly shining - a perfect morning.   There were boats in every slip since it was mid-July and although colorful and shimmery, it was chaos.   The job of a plein air painter is as much about what to not include as it is about what makes it into the painting.

Brant Rock Boats
A blue lobster boat with a red stripe at the water line looked dazzling in the direct sunlight, so it was to be the center of interest.    A row of  boats on the left included two bright yellow Sea Tow boats and their yellow reflections - all of which created some strong geometric shapes, although somewhat jagged.  The background boats were painted as dabs of color and done very loosely so as not to draw much attention.

The color matching of the water went well, although in the side-by-side shot, the scene is very dark.   (That's what cameras do in bright situations.)   I still have work to do on this one, mostly making sure the reflections line up with their objects.

Friday, July 22, 2016

June's Blooms Phase One

Potting Bench - Transparent Wash Stage
It was June and these beautiful blossoms came from my garden.  We have had some picture perfect weather lately which has spared the bushes from the harsh wind and rain that can shorten their life cycles.    So there are plenty of flowers to paint!  This still life included two vases with pink roses clustered, a clay pot of blooming pink kalanchoe, my watering can, some well worn gardening gloves and pruning sheers completed the set up.  The height of the set up suggested that a portrait aspect would work better than landscape.

Potting Bench - Upper Element Needed?
For stage one, I applied a warm transparent wash with a mop brush, mapping in the set up.  I carved (wiped) out the areas that would be lighter with a paper towel.   This stage had a subdued, antique feel that I really loved; why it could be called a finished painting if that was the look I was after.   However, my goal was to create a fully developed, thickly painted canvas of blossoms, so the subdued style would have to be another day.


I began the second stage by applying mid-tones for roses and leaves.   After adding each supporting element, I used a clean mop brush to buff out the edges.  Believe it or not it seemed more difficult to decide how to handle the negative space than the subject matter on this one.   A larger canvas means more space for interesting objects and shadows.   I decided to place hints of clay pots under the potting table and a fringe of greens behind the primary blooms.

This is a 22x28 inch canvas so progress has been somewhat slow, so I consider this one still in progress.   To be continued...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Graceful Back Bay Architecture

Marlborough St - Back Bay
Hugh Maguire's book entitled "My First 40 Jobs: A Memoir" describes Marlborough Street in the Back Bay section of Boston, MA this way:  "Marlborough Street is filled with old red brick townhouses, condominiums, and apartments three to five stories high featuring countless bay windows, gables, turrets; and you can look inside some windows and see brilliant chandeliers shining from high-ceilinged, spacious rooms.   In front were tiny plots of grass bordered by high, black iron fences harkening back to the 1800's.   Tulips, roses, daffodils, hyacinth, crocuses, azaleas and rhododendron bushes brighten the eyes on these tiny lawns.  Dogwood and magnolia trees planted a century earlier on the sidewalks and on some miniature lawns turned spring in Marlborough Street into an unforgettable sight.   To this day I consider Marlborough Street the most beautiful street in Boston." 

I would be hard pressed to argue with him.  Marlborough Street has been the subject of several my paintings now, all of which have been sold.   This painting features a stretch of homes on Marlborough Street between Fairfield and Gloucester Streets, and the starring role goes to the home with the magnificent slate shingled turret.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Yacht Clubs from Kelly's Landing

Yacht Clubs from Kelly's Landing
There was a strong line of storm cells between the South Shore and Boston on this morning.    I would be driving straight into it.  The weather forecaster assured viewers that the weather would clear by 8AM, but it didn't.    The clouds and mist lingered as I set up along Day Boulevard in South Boston, MA.  This spot was always known as Kelly's Landing, known for its seafood and ice cream - back when ice cream cones were only 15 cents each. :)

The rain had soaked everything making surfaces look darker and shiny.   The old cedar shakes on the yacht club looked even darker against the cloudy skies.  Truthfully, this was an unpleasant paint out and the painting didn't turn out too good either.   As I've said before though, a bad day plein air painting beats a good day at the office - anyday!


Friday, July 8, 2016

The New Harbor Pier

Harbor Park View
On the town pier side of the Green Harbor River there is a new public space called Harbor Park.   A small pavilion with picnic tables and 270 degree views of the marinas, river and marshes make it an ideal spot for painting.   In addition to offering multiple subjects, it is ideal for birding.   Osprey fans take note - the osprey nest with occupants are plainly visible from here.

The view of the painting consisted of the Beach St. Bridge, some beach houses along Bay Ave, the closest town pier dock and of course, lobster boats.  I probably spent more time on the sky than anything else, since the clouds were particularly pretty on this day.    I really enjoyed this new painting location and will certainly return.

Maritime School Dock

Maritime School Dock
Photo of Scene
At the Duxbury Bay Maritime School in Duxbury, MA, things were hopping.   It was mid-June and school was out for summer -judging from the number of young people engaging in crew related activities and other boat preparations.    I found a little niche against a dock railing where I was not in anyone's way.   This spot was also behind a small shed only steps from my vehicle that overlooked the boat ramp and dock.   A fine young 18 year old assured me that the spot I had chosen would not impede him or the others as they worked.   It was a fun scene to watch and it became obvious from the chatter that this boating program and many new summer jobs had just started.

Maritime School Dock
As for the scene, it is always a little chancy when it's a beautiful day at a busy dock.  One minute the scene is intact and the next thing you know, the center of interest can be moved or gone.    Luckily, on this day, the pretty blue sailboat docked closest to me was not moved, (that is, with the exception of the tide's vertical drop) even though the skiffs behind it did come and go.

The angular elements and the shadowy contrast of the steel supports of the pier beyond seemed to form a strong composition.   There wasn't a lot of color but I liked the gray, blue and brown scheme.   All of those colors made their way into the water and the dock.

(Note to other painters: on this painting I wore sunglasses the entire time!  I've preached no sunglasses for true color matching, but after last week's marathon plein air competition, my fatigued eyes were feeling extra "light sensitive."     I'm trying to assess objectively if this painting looks too light because of the sunglasses, and I think it seems okay. I would be curious if the painting seems too light to anyone, because if it doesn't, my eyes would be happy to know it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Farmers' Market Canandaigua

Farmers' Market Quick Paint Competition
Framing Quick Paint Entry
This was the seventh and final painting done at the Finger Lakes Competition and Festival.   It was a little different from the first six paintings in that this was a timed "quick paint" event.   Painters were given two hours to complete a plein air painting plus a half hour to frame and walk it over to the Town Common where it would be on display with the thirty other entries.

That morning, I still had not decided what and where to paint when I heard someone mention that the Farmers' Market takes place each Saturday morning.   After checking into the quick paint event I pulled into a parking space right next to where the farm vans loaded with produce were pulling in.   The rows of vegetable and flower flats near my van caught my eye.   There was a nice large bucket of tall peonies, a reminder of the peonies from day before.   Farmers Doug and Walt had backed their red van into their space and were working out of the back of it.

Once they realized what I was doing they occasionally came over to check progress.   I decided to include Doug who wore a yellow shirt that stood out despite being in full shadow.  Walt lamented that he wasn't in the painting so I explained about the yellow shirt.  He then proceeded to tell Doug that they should switch shirts.   Haha!

It turned out that the person who bought this painting knows Walt and Doug, and further, her grandfather was one of the first five farmers who started the Canandaigua farmers' market.   The painting is with the right person!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Peonies at Sonnenberg

Peonies at Sonnenberg
Painting Six of the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition was an afternoon experience with a 12x24 inch canvas panel.    I chose a long white arbor that divided the formal gardens and a fifty foot peony border at beautiful Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens.  The dimensions of the canvas seemed just right.   Peony blooms are short lived, yet they happened to be peaking on this glorious June day.   The mild scent of the hundreds of pink and white blossoms occasionally drifted my way, an extra bonus beyond the beautiful visual.  A large painting at this point in the competition was a self-assigned stretch assignment.   If it turned out well, it would look nice in the pale silvery frame I had planned to use.

Peonies at Sonnenberg
This was the last day to paint for the main competition, and I would be turning in the best three paintings this evening.  I decided that this painting would be one of the three to be submitted for judging.   And although it wasn't selected for an award, I was satisfied that it was good and that I stayed true to how I paint.    Under time constraints a person's true signature style is probably more pronounced!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Seager Marine

Seager Marine - Stage One


There is no denying that I am a morning person.   I think my stamina is good all day, in that I can work/play/paint for long durations, but it seems that my results in the first four hours of the day are better.   I should use this self knowledge more wisely I guess!






Seager Marine - Stage Two
I set up along Town Pier Road at the northernmost tip of Lake Canandaigua.    This was Painting Five at the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition and Festival.   Being along the water with a marina to my right and docks all around put me squarely in my comfort zone - and it was a sunny dazzling morning.









Seager Marine - Canandaigua
There were some small buildings that were illuminated by the morning sun, which in turn were beautifully reflected in the water.   Many boats at various angles complicated the scene, but I ignored everything except for the sunlit canopies and a few chrome railings.   These painted shapes and colors also got dragged down into the reflections.    At just the right moment a fellow entered the scene with a gas can.   He walked to the gas pump and began filling.    This is the challenge of plein air!   He would be there for - maybe -four minutes.   It was just enough time to capture the essence of his posture leaning over to pump gas.


This one was my favorite painting of the whole week.    I was delighted to learn that it was sold to a local woman and art lover who would be giving it to her husband for Fathers' Day.

Midday at Granger

Midday at Granger - In Progress
This was Painting Four of the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition and the second painting of the day. Painters were invited to the historic Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum to capture scenes that the "Friends of the Museum" may like to own.   The sun was already high in the sky by the time I got started on this painting.   A woman in 19th century garb was posing in an antique carriage and several painters worked on the scene from various angles.

The museum hosted a nice reception that night and several paintings were sold (including mine).

Heron at the Pond

Painting Three for the Finger Lake Plein Air Competition and Festival was done at Lagoon Park, a
Heron on the Pond - Getting Started
What Are You Painting?
pretty recreational area adjacent to Canandaigua Lake.  It was sunny, which was a relief after yesterday's cold and moist paint out.  The waterways and walking paths snaked in and out of the lagoon.   I chose an area that had lots of green underbrush and a relatively calm stretch of water.   I liked the reflections of tree trunks that were bent over almost touching the water.   The warm shadows looked nice against the various shades of green.  

Heron at the Pond
Although this was a beautiful spot, it needed a little something more.   Once this great blue heron started moving around the lagoon area, I decided to make it the center of interest.   I placed him in what I thought was the painting's sweet spot for the final com-positional element.